Fil-Am groups call for swift action to resolve Maguindanao massacre case
LOS ANGELES – Fil-Am community and media groups launched on Nov. 23 a petition to demand a speedy resolution of the five-year-old Maguindanao massacre case trial
“We seek prompt justice for the 32 journalists and 26 other murder victims,” said the petition presented at an event honoring the memory of the victims at the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) in Historic Filipinotown in LA.
“It is very frustrating to hear about the slow-paced and much-delayed trial and the uncertainty of the future of the case,” the petition stated.
The petition, which will be submitted to Malacañang and the Department of Justice, also demanded an end to the killings of journalists and the culture of impunity in the Philippines.
At the same event, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-US Chapter inaugurated its traveling photo exhibit depicting the 2009 massacre in Maguindanao, also known as the Ampatuan massacre and believed to be masterminded by the top leaders of the Ampatuan political clan.
“We will take this exhibit to community events, universities, churches, Fil-Am establishments and other venues to let people know about our call for justice,” said journalist Larry Pelayo, who volunteered to help NUJP-US coordinate the project. The group also plans to collect petition signatures at the exhibit sites.
In his remarks, FACLA President Austin Baul bewailed what he described as the Philippine leaders’ lack of political will to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim, who spoke at the event, assured the groups that the government has been working for the prompt delivery of justice to the victims.
“Nalulungkot din kami sa nangyari….at sa mabagal na pag-usad ng hustisya (We are also saddened by this tragedy…and the slow pace of justice,” Herrera-Lim said.
Fr. John Brannigan, a parish priest in Historic Filipinotown, led a prayer for the victims. “We pray for all journalists who have died worldwide in the pursuit of truth,” he said. “We pray for those in the Philippines who work for peace, justice and truth.”
Participants lit candles to honor the memory of the victims and show support for the Million Candles campaign to end the culture of impunity in the Philippines.
The program also featured musical performances, a reenactment of the massacre and poetry reading by members of the media.
The groups endorsing the petition included NUJP-US, FACLA, Filipino American Press Club of California (FAPCCA), F7 Photographers, Philippine Press Photographers (PPP)-USA, Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) and People’s Core Alliance.